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WA Government set to support parliamentary inquiry into medicinal cannabis

A committee will look at the prescription, availability and affordability of medicinal cannabis. (ABC South West: Anthony Pancia)


The WA Government looks set to investigate issues around medicinal cannabis, amid concerns it is too hard to access. Key points:

  • WA government supports select committee into medicinal cannabis

  • It would explore issues around availability and affordability

  • Benefits and risks of industrial hemp industry will also be explored

Advocates for pharmaceutical cannabis products say many patients are struggling to find GPs willing to prescribe it, despite medicinal cannabis being legal in WA since 2016.

The Legalise Cannabis Party has been calling for a select committee to investigate the prescription, availability and affordability of medicinal access to the drug.

The State Government confirmed it was working with the micro-party – which has two Upper House MPs – to look at medicinal cannabis and commercial opportunities for industrial hemp products.

Legalise Cannabis WA's Dr Brian Walker said few doctors were willing to prescribe the drug.

"People travel a long way to find a doctor willing to actually stick his neck out and risk prescribing what has been a forbidden medication," Dr Walker said.'Limited' scientific evidence

The Department of Health website states that the scientific basis for using medicinal cannabis is limited, and may be useful treating certain childhood epilepsies, pain associated with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and relieving chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.

The Australian Medical Association of WA’s president Dr Mark Duncan-Smith said he was concerned the issue was being politicised, and could "validate" people's decision to use cannabis illegally.

Australian Medical Association WA (AMA WA) President Mark Duncan-Smith has reservations about the use of medicinal cannabis (ABC News: James Carmody)" This isn’t about patient care, it's about a political stand," he said.

"From a doctor's point of view what we support is a proper investigation into medicinal cannabis for its clinical indications, how safe it is, how effective it is. "Let’s see the evidence that ... more people should be prescribing it." Dr Duncan-Smith said that there were better, more effective, and more evidence-based drugs than pharmaceutical cannabis. "A doctor is going to prescribe a well-recognised effective drug over and against a socially popular … drug."Legalise Cannabis WA's Brian Walker said it would be an unbiased committee that would include Labor and Nationals MPs. "I'm very much a proponent of cannabis, but if the committee produces evidence which suggests that my point of view is wrong, then this must be recognised as well," he said. "It's an open mind, it's looking at the facts, it's without any bias, and without any political favouritism." Originally published here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/wa-government-supports-select-committee-into-medicinal-cannabis/100535262

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